Peace be with you (John 21: 1-21)
My dear Christians and all citizens of South Sudan, peace be with you.
Easter celebration this year should be to us the celebration of hope for lasting peace in our beloved country South Sudan. Easter is about a start of a new life after death.
On the first day of resurrection, the word of peace was the first gift of the risen Lord to His discouraged and fearful disciples. He said to them: “peace be with you”. And to Mary, who was worried and crying, He asked: “Woman, why are you crying?”
Indeed, as South Sudanese, we find ourselves in the same situations of worries and crying as Mary did due to the prolonged suffering caused to us by the senseless war in our Country.
But the good news is that, at Easter all our tears and fears are turned to joy and hope for peace. Indeed, this is the time for peace since we already have the revitalised peace agreement as our roadmap for peace.
We have continued to pray for peace. Last week at the Vatican, the Holy Father Pope Francis, humbled himself to kiss the feet of our leaders as a sign of commissioning them to go the way of peace. The choice is now for us and our leaders whether to choose the path of peace or to choose the path of war and bring continued suffering on ourselves.
Today, in the name of the risen Lord Jesus Christ, I encourage you all to choose peace and put an end to war. Let us all turn away from violence and abandon conflict.
We should all forgive our past and be reconciled to one another.
Blessed are the peace makers, for they will be called the children of God (Matthew 5: 9).
I wish you all happy Easter celebration.
Oh God bless South Sudan!
The Most Revd Justin Badi Arama
Archbishop and the Primate of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan
And the Diocesan Bishop of Juba